I've prepared recipes successfully using commercially available sauerkraut. Since our family has turned to using organic ingredients whenever possible, I thought it would be preferable to use organic sauerkraut.
I've had a 2 gallon crock sitting around for years. I didn't use it for anything except as a container to hold a large silk plant. Once my thoughts turned to using "organic sauerkraut", I retrieved that crock and put it to a much more appropriate and purposeful use. I researched the art of making fermented foods (and believe me, you can ferment all kinds of foods!). I found a recipe that looked good for my purposes and went to work.
I bought pickling salt and organic green cabbage that was on sale since it was right around St. Patrick's Day! I shredded my cabbage using a knife and layered it in the crock with the salt, as stated in the instructions. The first time I shredded it by hand, but the second time I made it, I used my Kitchen Aid shredder attachment. Trust me, if you have one, use it. It goes so much faster! A food processor shredder attachment might also work, though I have never used one.
I used a potato masher to tightly compress the cabbage and to get it to "juice up". I then used a clean glass dinner plate to cover the top. I weighed down the cabbage with a very large ziploc bag filled with salt brine. The weight of the bag helps to compress the plate and cabbage, and it also expands across the top of the crock, minimizing exposure to air. I filled the bag with brine water so that if it should spring a leak, it simply adds more brine to the cabbage mixture and won't dilute the brine in the cabbage mix.
Once done, find a cool location to keep the crock. (I used my basement) I also covered the crock with a towel to keep dust out. Then you simply wait. The recipe said to check on the kraut daily to be sure the cabbage is submerged in the brine (personally, I've only had to check on it every few days, and it was always fine). It should be ready in 3-4 weeks depending on the temperature at which it is stored. The recipe I used said kraut can be left in the crock indefinitely if you keep the top surface from being exposed to air. I keep mine submerged in the crock, but there are other ways to process and store it. I found using a 2 gallon crock to be a perfect size for our family of 4. I was concerned that there might be a undesirable odor from the fermenting cabbage, but my basement did not smell either time I made the sauerkraut.
I have also read articles about making smaller batches of kraut in different containers or smaller crocks. I can't help but think that the orphan slow cooker crocks (sold without the cooker) that I see at the thrift store, would be a perfect size for smaller batches. Preparation would be the same, but on a smaller scale.
If you try making your own kraut, you will be amazed at the flavor and above all the "crunch" your kraut will have. It's really good. Eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods has health benefits, and if it's organic, that's even better. I've included links that explain why adding fermented foods to your diet is beneficial.
Below are is the link I used to make my sauerkraut.
Health Benefits associated with eating sauerkraut and fermented foods.
How to make Sauerkraut Casserole
I received this recipe idea from a coworker over 30 years ago. It's a favorite of mine and I make it regularly. Sauerkraut Casserole is a take off on the classic Green Bean Casserole that is made with cream of mushroom soup. But this time you make it with sauerkraut instead of green beans. I don't really use the measurements anymore. All you need to do is combine the ingredients you want, in the amount you want, and bake it.
I've made this recipe with both commercial and homemade sauerkraut. Regardless of which type of sauerkraut you use, make sure to rinse it well and then squeeze it very dry. Mix it with cream of mushroom soup straight from the can. (I use organic). Do not dilute the soup, the juice from the kraut will combine with the soup and thin the sauce a little bit. . You can put in more or less condensed soup, depending on how "saucy" you want the casserole. I like more sauce, my husband likes it more on the dry side. Add sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned) and diced onions if you like. You don't have to do this, but I like to saute my onions before adding them in. Mix it up and put it in a baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes and check to see if it's done. If it's not bubbly and a bit browned on top, bake an additional 10-15 min. Give it a try! Don't be afraid to experiment and change it up. It comes out fine when made in large or small quantities. It's a very forgiving recipe.
cream of mushroom soup
sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
diced fresh onion (optional)
Combine and put in baking pan
Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 min. Bake additional 10-15 min if needed till bubbly and browned on top.